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Outland 05-20-2012 06:40 PM

Television Technology In 1992-1994
Hello all.

I was wondering what kind of television was high-end/low-end/normal in the early 90's?

I assume a majority were CRT-based, and Panasonic and Sony were the big names. I also assume Laserdiscs were sold at the high-end.

But what connections did these TVs have? Were they stereo?

It would be interesting to see a Panasonic catalog from the time.

Thanks all.

radiotvnut 05-20-2012 07:53 PM

Low end from the early '90's:
1. 12" B&W sets with rotary tuners (yes, they were still made in the early '90's).
2. 13"/19" color TV's with a manual power/volume knob and rotary tuners. These were available in the USA until '93, when it was mandated that all TV's 13" and larger must have a built-in CC decoder. It was now easier for companies to build TV's with electronic microprocessor tuning control with the CC decoder built in the microprocessor than to house a CC decoder inside a rotary tuned set. The main people buying rotary tuned sets in the early '90's were the elderly, who did not want change. These TV's usually had no A/V input jacks.

Next, there were non-remote sets with digital pushbutton channel selection. Some were cable ready, while others would only tune OTA channels. These sets usually didn't have A/V inut jacks.

Moving up, there were remote controlled sets with cable ready electronic tuning. Some of these sets had an LED channel readout and others had OSD. There were usually no A/V jacks on these.

Next, we had sets that met the description of TV's described directly above, except these set had stereo sound and many had at least one set of A/V input jacks.

The higher end sets had what I mentioned above plus the addition of PIP, better speakers, a decent audio amp, connections for external speakers, various A/V jacks, and an elaborate menu system that would allow channel labels, etc.

Today, even the cheapest TV will have A/V jacks, a remote, and other features that would have only been found on high end sets 20 years ago.

bgadow 05-20-2012 11:46 PM

When I think of the 'average' TV from that era I think of a 19 or 20 inch crt set, remote control (which was pretty much standard by then) often without stereo, no inputs or outputs, just a coax antenna input on the back. This was the beginning of the "BPC" (black plastic crap) era of cookie-cutter, increasingly imported sets.

Outland 05-21-2012 12:03 AM

Very interesting.

Do you think I might be able to find such a top-of-the-line set from, say, 1992, today?

I always liked the picture on those quality sets, but could never afford them at the time.

radiotvnut 05-21-2012 01:25 AM

I'd say that the chances are good that you'll be able to find one. There were many TV brands and most had their high end models. There were a lot of them sold and many still survive.

kx250rider 05-21-2012 12:20 PM

Early 90s was Sony's last grand high-end day in the sun. The KV-36XBR400 was an incredible set, but not so reliable as they got to be 8 and 10 years old. Mitsubishi was probably the most high-end set for big screen sets, and also excellent with CRT direct view. They came out with the 40" standard CRT, then Sony came out with the 40" flat CRT shortly after. Those sets all had component video and SVHS, and a few had TTL and VGA ports. No HDMI or DVI at that time.

The "fad" sets; the ones the young professionals needed to brag ownership of, were the NEC and the ProScan. NEC was a great set, but not worth the inflated price, and the ProScan was a glorified cheapie RCA-GE, and although it had an OK picture, they were terribly unreliable (blowing flybacks constantly, and blowing power supplies, etc). And let's not forget the Proton, which was basically a Hitachi. Great set, and great picture, but unreasonably high-priced. The worst fad set was the Zenith Inteq. It was the worst POS I've ever seen.


radiotvnut 05-21-2012 02:57 PM

Yeah, don't consider anything with the Zenith name on it from the '90's or those "digital system 3" sets from the late '80's. I have a friend who paid around $1600 for a 31" Zenith digital system 3 console around '89. The reason he bought it is because it had a feature called teletext that would allow him to access all sorts of information. That TV was a POS from day one. When the Zenith dealer wasn't working on it, I was. I rejuvenated the CRT at least twice while he owned it. A few years ago, he told me to get it out of his life and I brought it home, replaced a bunch of bad electrolytic caps in the power supply and vertical sweep circuits and rejuvenated the CRT (again). Then, it developed a tuner problem that I think was just a loose connection; but, I wasn't going to open it again. I paired it with an old VCR to use as a tuner and I gave the set to the SA. Most any '90's Zenith you find will have a bad CRT, no matter how "high end" the TV was supposed to be.

Mitsubishi's had good pictures; but, that's a set you'd better be prepared to change every electrolytic cap on the chassis and clean up the mess from the old leaking caps. It finally got to the point where I wouldn't accept a Mitsubishi for repair.

I remember the Proscan hype in the early-to-mid '90's. I worked on a few that used the CTC169 chassis; which, wasn't a terrible set. However, they are now getting to the age where the CRT's are getting weak and the chassis will come near having too many problems. Most of the problems I had with the 169 had to do with bad caps in the PS/horizontal output/vertical sweep sections, blown HOT's, blown power supply parts, and blown audio output IC's. There was a CTC170 chassis that was a total PITA that I refused to work on. Then, there was the CTC179 that was an OK performer; but, they were difficult to work on and the flyback was a high failure part.

Sony's were a decent set; but, the CRT's tended to go bad after a few years.

If you consider a set to buy, look at the picture. If the greyscale is off, displays a soft picture, has color bleeding, or any combination of the above; you likely have a weak CRT and you'd be better off to move on to something else.

Outland 05-21-2012 04:00 PM

Very interesting, thank you for explaining.

Where do you think I should look?

radiotvnut 05-21-2012 05:37 PM

Thrift stores, Craigslist, yard sales, estate sales, the side of the road.

dewdude 05-21-2012 06:50 PM

I had an old RCA console from 1989. XL 100 with remote if I remember. Very basic set. RF input only.

Developed a tuner problem in 99. It stayed that way till 2004 when one of the color drive transistors blew. Replaced it and resoldered the tuner. That TV looked really nice for a basic console.

Tried to give it away in December after I got a flat panel, but no one wanted it.

Sent from my Transformer TF101 using Tapatalk 2

Chip Chester 05-21-2012 08:26 PM

What part of the world do you live in? If you're looking, that is.


Outland 05-21-2012 09:11 PM

I see. Thank you, radiotvnut.

I guess a 20" high end 1992-1995 Sony would be ideal. I'll keep looking.

bgadow 05-22-2012 10:57 PM

Craigslist is loaded with sets these days and would be the easiest place to look. You'll have to wade through a lot of junk to find what you are looking for, so be patient. There is a very good chance you can get the set you want for somewhere between free and $20, $30 max. These sets have basically no resale value right now.

I don't have much experience with the higher end stuff but Panasonic would get a look if it were me.

DavGoodlin 05-23-2012 11:30 AM

As Bryan states, you really can't go wrong with Panasonic.
Sony and Toshiba were nice, but the CRT's did not have the longevity, so take a good look at the picture.

I have a 1991 Toshiba CRT "flat screen 27" with one S-video (SVHS) input that's looking soft in the last 7 years of daily use. The dark scenes are not black, but a slight shade of green, indicating poor cutoff of green gun.
I found it at a private school in the surplus AV equipment room. It had low hours due to any early vertical collapse that was not fixed with a new IC. It was an obscure 1mf-50V cap nobody could find. Otherwise it woulda been tossed 10 years ago.

Electronic M 05-23-2012 02:40 PM

If you are talking about the 4 pin video connector SVHS is not the correct name for it S-video is (the S is for separate as in the chroma and luminance signals are separate). SVHS is a video tape recording format. These terms tend to get mixed up quite often by most people BTW.

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